Processed waste at KSEB's Brahmapuram unit to fuel private waste-to-energy plant

Representational Image. Photo: Manorama Online

Kochi: The Kerala Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) has allowed a Bengaluru-based private firm which has received the contract to process and remove the waste piled up at Brahmapuram Diesel Power Plant in Kochi to store the refuse-derived fuel (RDF) at its nearby property itself. Consequently, almost half of the processed waste will remain at Brahmapuram.

The waste-processing private firm has said that it would store the RDF at the site of its proposed plant at Brahmapuram where electricity is sought to be produced from garbage. This site has been leased by the Kochi Corporation to the KSIDC.

The RDF could be utilized at own power plant when it is operational. However, work on the power plant is yet to start, the firm authorities stated.

Such recycling of industrial waste can eliminate pollution brought about by fossil fuels.

It is estimated that after biomining (scientific processing of garbage), 48.14 per cent of RDF would be obtained. At Brahmapuram, this would mean that around 2.66 lakh square metres of RDF would be produced. The permission to store this fuel at Brahmapuram would yield huge financial benefits for the Bengaluru firm as it can save on transportation costs.

The firm was given a contract worth Rs 55 crore by the Kochi Municipal Corporation to process an estimated 5.52 lakh sq m of waste at Brahmapuram. On biomining this waste, the following items also would be obtained, apart from 48.14 per cent RDF: 0.96 per cent (5283 sq m) reusable materials; 27.24 per cent (1.50 lakh sq m) non-reusable materials and 23.67 per cent (1.31 lakh sq m) soil.

A sample of the RDF produced at Brahmapuram was sent to a cement factory at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu. However, the transportation cost was very high and the cement factory had sufficient stock of RDF. As a result, the Kochi Corporation informed the National Green Tribunal that the fuel was being kept at Brahmapuram.

According to the biomining contract signed by the private firm, no material processed from waste should be kept at the spot for more than 30 days. The permission now given to the firm to store RDF at Brahmapuram would help it save big on transportation costs as well as utilize the fuel for operating the proposed power plant, thus earning double profits.

The Brahmapuram Diesel Power Plant is run by the Kerala State Electricity Board.

What is biomining and how is RDF obtained?
Biomining is the process of scientifically separating piled up garbage. Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) comprises non-reusable materials processed from the waste which could be burnt. RDF is used as fuel to burn furnaces in power plants and cement factories. In a waste-to-energy plant, waste is used to produce electricity.

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